Skip to comments.D.C. on Alert As Sniper Roams Free
Posted on 10/05/2002 6:15:53 AM PDT by SLB
ROCKVILLE, Md.- A series of six fatal sniper shootings has shaken the Washington, D.C., suburbs, even as officials urge wary residents to go about their normal business.
But law enforcement authorities are worried.
"My level of concern about the ability of the suspect to strike again is high," said Charles Moose, the Montgomery County police chief, late Friday. "This brings us to a higher degree of recklessness by this suspect or suspects."
"We implore him to surrender, stop this madness," Moose said.
On Friday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said testing showed the same high-powered rifle had been used to kill at least four of six shooting victims. Five victims were shot in Maryland; one was gunned down in Washington, D.C.
The sixth victim, a 72-year-old Washington, D.C., pedestrian, was killed by the same weapon used to kill at least three of the Maryland victims, said Special Agent Michael Bouchard.
"The four shootings were done with the same firearm," he said, adding that forensic testing was still under way in the two other Maryland fatal shootings.
Bouchard also said ATF agents would examine evidence collected from the scene of a shooting Friday outside a crafts store in Fredericksburg, Va., 55 miles south of Rockville to see if it was related. A woman was shot in the back, but survived the attack.
Police were looking for two men in a white van with dark lettering, a description that came from a witness to one of the killings. Police pulled over white vans Friday and plastered orange stickers on the back to show the vehicles had been checked. Moose said investigators were chasing more than 500 leads.
Each Maryland victim was felled by a single bullet. Police said evidence indicated the killer was some distance away and used .223-caliber bullets.
The search went on amid a mix of fear and defiance among residents of the economically and culturally diverse slice of the suburban county where the shootings occurred.
Meanwhile, all over Montgomery County, people appeared to carry on with business as usual - though with a lot more caution. Many said they were afraid but wouldn't stop getting groceries, going to work or leaving their children with a baby sitter.
"I had to shop. I need to eat. I can't stay at home all day," said Kira Leonova, who works at a bookstore near one of the slaying scenes. "I have to work and I have a family."
Dexter Evans, 20, scanned the traffic as he waited for a bus to Rockville, and he took a second look at every white truck. "You can't even walk down the street without looking over your shoulder," he said.
Schools opened with extra police patrols and calls poured into 911 dispatchers about suspicious noises.
Five of the victims died within five miles of one another during a 16-hour span between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. All were gunned down in broad daylight in very public places: two at gas stations, one outside a grocery, another outside a post office and the fifth as he mowed the grass at an auto dealership.
"There's still no information to lead us to think our victims are associated," Moose said. "They don't appear to be anyone's enemies, just random targets."
Carin Saez, 27, found herself going back to school Friday to pick up her 12-year-old niece, deciding it was too dangerous. Saez said she would not let her own children go back to school until the killer was caught.
"I was petrified to even go to the store last night," Saez said. "My kids were scared. They didn't even want to go outside. They're more scared now than on September 11."
Officials at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville canceled a Friday night pep rally and police were posted at the football game against rival Wooten High. Dani Young, a 17-year-old senior, said: "It kind of ruins the mood of homecoming."
In Bethesda, Mary Patterson said as she leaving home for a hair appointment: "I'm not afraid. After all, I'm 81 years old - my time could be anytime."
Now I understand how the Israelis feel about homicide bombers.
Former N.C. Man Wanted For Questioning In Shooting Spree
Man Is Reportedly Affilliated With White Supremacist Groups
POSTED: 9:35 a.m. EDT October 5, 2002
ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Federal authorities reportedly want to question a former North Carolina resident about a string of fatal shootings in Montgomery County and Washington. The Raleigh news and Observer reports that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has issued a bulletin for Robert Gene Baker III, (pictured, right).
Baker is a former Raleigh resident, but it's unclear when he last lived there. Federal agents believe he's heading south from Washington and may have associates in Virginia and North Carolina.
The ATF reports says Baker's family members reported him missing on Monday. The report doesn't say where his family lives.
The bulletin described Baker as a drug user affiliated with various militia and white supremacist groups. He is white, 5-feet-9 and 195 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and tattoos on both arms and back.
He was said to be traveling south in a white 2000 GMC van with dark lettering. The vehicle has a Maryland registration.
The ATF says Baker is armed with a handgun and high-powered rifle and should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.
Investigators say the bullets used in three of the five fatal shootings in Montgomery County, Md., and one in Washington, D.C., were all fired from the same weapon.
An agent from the ATF says tests of the shell fragments yielded the match. Investigators are still analyzing fragments from two other fatal shootings in Montgomery County that police believe are linked to the others.
Investigators say the same weapon was used to shoot a cab driver at an Aspen Hill Mobil station, a woman at a Kensington Shell station, another woman in front of a post office in Silver Spring, and a 72-year-old man walking on Georgia Avenue, just inside the District line.
Police are still awaiting test results from a non-fatal shooting Friday in Spotsylvania County, Va. Killer May Strike Again
A Maryland police official says he's really worried that a multiple killer could strike again.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose says the suspect or suspects have shown a high degree of recklessness especially using the same gun in several killings. He says his worry level is high.
Moose begged the killer to surrender and "stop the madness."
October 4, 2002: Police Link D.C. Shooting To Suburban Attacks
October 3, 2002: Profilers Say Maryland Shooter Will Strike Again
Victims Of Shooting Spree
James Martin, 55, of Silver Spring, Md. Killed about 6:04 p.m. Wednesday, in the parking lot of Shoppers Food Warehouse grocery store in Wheaton
James L. "Sonny" Buchanan, 39, of Arlington, Va. Killed about 7:41 a.m. Thursday, while riding a lawnmower at Fitzgerald Auto Mall in White Flint. Buchanan's company provided landscaping services for the dealership
Prenkumar Walekar, 54, of Olney, Md. Killed about 8:12 a.m. Thursday, at a Mobil gas station, Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Avenue in the Aspen Hill area
Sarah Ramos, 34, of Silver Spring, Md. Killed about 8:37 a.m. Thursday, outside a post office at 3802 International Boulevard in Silver Spring
Laurie Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, of Silver Spring, Md. Killed about 9:58 a.m. Thursday at a Shell gas station at Knowles and Connecticut avenues in Kensington
THE REPUBLICANS TOOK BACK THE SENATE.
Where is it at? Don't think I can buy anything after last night's Harry Berry fund raiser but you never know.
He musta went tru a real metamorfesus since the mornin' ;-)
Is that cheesy?
(No, I wasn't taking a shower, but I was fixing Mrs. BenLurkin an omelette and only caught part of what he said.)
The Charles Whitman story. Worth reading.
Are they sure about this? I thought guns weren't allowed in DC? Especially those that would be propelling .223 caliber rounds. Someone must be mistaken.
...saying "vote yes for the renewal of the Brady Bill"